Title: Gathering Blue
Author: Lois Lowry
Status: Book 2 of The Giver series
In her strongest work to date, Lois Lowry once again creates a mysterious but plausible future world. It is a society ruled by savagery and deceit that shuns and discards the weak. Left orphaned and physically flawed, young Kira faces a frightening, uncertain future. Blessed with an almost magical talent that keeps her alive, she struggles with ever broadening responsibilities in her quest for truth, discovering things that will change her life forever.
As she did in The Giver, Lowry challenges readers to imagine what our world could become, and what will be considered valuable. Every reader will be taken by Kira’s plight and will long ponder her haunting world and the hope for the future.
I’ll be honest: I was procrastinating writing this review.
I was BLOWN AWAY with The Giver (book 1) and I couldn’t wait to dive into this book. I had no idea what this book had in it, but it had to be good.
We follow teenager Kira, having only two syllables in her name, as she tries to survive after her mother dies. Her mother, who was the only reason she was allowed to live because she was a cripple. One of her legs was twisted from when she was born and she moved around using a crutch.
After her mother dies, one of the neighbouring women wants her dead—pronouncing her useless and appealed in the court. She campaigned with the other women saying that they needed the land of Kira’s house for a kids pen. A pen to cage the toddlers so they won’t cause trouble.
The fact that the authorities even consider this shows how this society is.
But, she’s allowed to live and given a special work—one which involves her talent for threading. She also learns the dying art of dyes from a woman named Annabella (four syllables!).
All is not what it seems, though. And Kira is starting to find out.
Why I didn’t like the book:
In The Giver, we were mostly talking about perfect societies, choices and freedom. That was the expected perfect world. We had a teeny tiny “magical” element in it, but it wasn’t too much in the spotlight. We weren’t thinking about the magic part.
In Gathering Blue, we see a more realistic society. It’s a world where the most cunning survive and there’s cruelty all around. It’s more believable. It’s closer to the current world (in the sense of survival instincts). There’s also a big spotlight on magical elements called “gifts”, especially considering the main character Kira had one.
I didn’t like the book because it didn’t have any of the things I loved about The Giver. It didn’t make me think because the issues all surrounded the gifted people. And there was something going on under wraps, building, which Kira would figure out with the help of two friends.
Another reason was because I couldn’t see how it was related to The Giver. Didn’t even seem as the two were set in the same world. It felt like we were considering a whole other scenario, an alternate universe to The Giver. And I didn’t want to go away from the previous characters or the story.
Allow me to explain the society:
- The older citizens get, the more syllables they have in their names. The oldest ones have four syllables, and there’s a saying: “Those who lived to four syllables know all there is.” They’re considered the wisest.
- There’s a place in the outskirts of the “town” called “The Field” where the corpses of people who are dying/dead are taken. It’s said that the “monsters” come and take the bodies. These monsters are really dreadful. Mourners/relatives usually stay four days with the corpse after the person dies, to make sure the monsters don’t take the bodies before the soul is completely gone.
- There’s a ceremony every year where The Singer sings the Song. This Song goes on for several hours and lays out the complete history of the people, as far back as they know.
- The society is cutthroat and any persons with deformities are not let live. Kids born with them are taken to the Field and abandoned to the monsters—not allowed to live. Because they are of no use to the village if they’re not completely capable.
So you can see how it’s more.. believable and realistic than the society in The Giver. They’re also drastically different.
What I liked
There was this young child called Matt (one syllable) who was ADORABLE as heck. He’s pretty much the only reason I kept reading, after a while. I loved him. The next book is actually based on him, and that’s the ONLY reason why I continued reading the series.
It was pretty good. We watch a young citizen who is about to change the society, just as The Giver. On it’s own, it’s a pretty good story. BUT after The Giver, as a sequel to it, Gathering Blue fell short. It didn’t make me think or question things. We had more “magic”. It just wasn’t what I wanted.